Armistead Maupin Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Armistead Maupin

Armistead Maupin

An interview with Armistead Maupin

Armistead Maupin briefly discusses the autobiographical aspects of his novels as well as his organic process of writing.

You are known for producing complex plotlines full of unexpected twists. Does this require careful planning, or is the process more organic in nature?
I always let a storyline percolate for a while before I begin to write, but even then I have only a general road map of the territory. Many of the side trips arise unexpectedly, which is a source of delight to me. Sometimes, of course, it's necessary to rewrite in order to look like I'd always planned on taking that side trip. This requires engaging both sides of your brain simultaneously. That is, you have to maintain a kind of formal structure but go a little crazy at the same time. And, for me, that's never a speedy process. I usually write two pages a day at the very most. I wish I could let it spill out heedlessly, but I've grown more and more fussy over the years--thanks, in part, to the invention of the word processor.

Did you know how The Night Listener would end when you began it?
No. That came to me very close to the end, when I was out walking the dog. But it arose from what I'd already learned about Gabriel--and about myself--in the course of writing the book. It was thrillingly obvious, too, as if I should have seen it all along.

You seem to flirt a lot with autobiography. Is that a function of your self--exploration process, or are you taking details from your own life to flesh out a character that you think of as entirely separate from yourself?
Well--both, really. Sometimes I wish I could divorce myself from Gabriel, because he's not always the most appealing guy around, but I'm also clever enough to know that his flaws make him more real. And I have lots of those to mine. The truth is, I've always been writing about myself in one way or another. The central character of Maybe the Moon is very like me, though I'm disguised there as a heterosexual, Jewish, female dwarf. It was much easier to write, let me tell you. Gabriel was a killer, because there was nowhere to hide. Which is not to say that my vanity ever completely disappeared. Even when I'm being brutally honest about myself, I'm secretly hoping be to be admired for it.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Arthur Truluv
    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg
    Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Wonder Valley
    by Ivy Pochoda

    A visionary and masterful portrait of contemporary L.A. from the author of Visitation Street.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.